Whether you're using an old PC or just got a new one, you probably wish it was faster all the time. You'll see all sorts of advice online about how to make your computer faster; ads on TV even claim their product can double your PC's speed, but of course these are a bunch of nonsense and nothing more than scams.
While you can speed up some computer operations by uninstalling unnecessary programs, running fewer programs at startup, and removing temporary files, the biggest computer upgrade you can perform is to add a solid state drive (SSD). Here's what they are and why they're better than traditional hard disk drives (HDD).
How an SSD Is Different
Traditional HDDs have internal moving parts that work to save data. An "arm" moves over several "platters" to physically write information to the disk. In contrast, an SSD works more like a flash drive — they consist of flash memory.
Practically, this comes with some big differences. Because SSDs have no moving parts, they are much quieter — you won't hear any mechanical whirring sounds when working with an SSD. This also means if you're someone who travels a lot or is worried about banging your laptop around and damaging the disk, an SSD is more resilient since it doesn't physically move.
In addition, SSDs can read from any location on the disk nearly instantaneously, compared to an HDD that must spin the arm to the correct location on the disk. This is a big factor in why SSDs are so much faster.
Have you ever had to defragment your hard drive? Because HDDs work more efficiently when files are laid out contiguously, fragmentation occurs after some time when files are moved all over the place; the hard drive has to work harder to read pieces of a file that should be close together. With an SSD, defragmentation is completely unnecessary.
The Price is Better Than Ever
SSDs aren't brand-new, but when they first launched they were quite expensive; in 2008 a measly 80 GB SSD costed almost $600. This price has plummeted in recent years, as you can now get a 500 GB SSD for just $150 — that might seem high when compared to a 1 TB HDD you can get for $60, but for most people, speed is much more important than capacity.
You can press Windows Key + E right now to see how much free space your computer has — if you have lots of unused space, would upgrading to a 2 TB drive really be worth it? Contrast that to speed, which you feel every day when you boot up your computer, move files, and open software.
You Can Use an SSD Alongside an HDD
Most desktop computers have space for two drives, so you can purchase a smaller SSD to run the operating system and your most important files and programs. Use the other slot for a big HDD that stores your big files, if you need it.
Unless you're a graphic designer and need several terabytes of space to store high definition video files (or work in other similar positions), most people can survive just fine with 500 GB. An SSD future-proofs your computer; you can always buy an external hard drive (or an SD card, or cloud storage) to store more files, but you can't increase your PC's speed that way.
The Speed Difference is Staggering
It's hard to estimate how much an SSD really improves your computer's performance without seeing it firsthand. Check out the video below to see some tests of how much better they perform.
Everything will be faster with an SSD — your computer will go from power button pressed to waiting at login screen in under ten seconds. We're really at the time where HDDs are becoming outdated because SSDs are just so much better — and the biggest drawbacks to SSDs, price and capacity, are getting more reasonable all the time.
There really isn't a better computer upgrade you can make. Adding more RAM is good, but only goes so far.
Will You Upgrade?
Now you know why SSDs are so awesome. Are you interested in upgrading to an SSD, or are you still holding out for some reason? Let us know what you think about this!